Man dies after SUV crashes through gate at Southworth ferry dock, sinks in Sound

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The rescue/recover operation at the Southworth ferry terminal Friday night. (Photo: Washington State Patrol)

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. — The driver of a SUV crashed through a gate arm at “moderate speed” and drove off the Southworth ferry dock into the water Friday night, the State Patrol said. Divers recovered the man’s body from the submerged vehicle about an hour later.

Life-saving measures were attempted, but were unsuccessful.

The Southworth ferry terminal was closed after the incident and remain closed until the submerged vehicle was recovered, authorities said. The Ford Escape was finally hauled out at about 11 p.m. Friday.

The State Patrol said the first call came in at about 6:11 p.m. that a vehicle had driven off the ferry terminal dock. It said the Seattle Fire Department divers found the SUV about 50 to 60 feet off the dock and about 60 feet down in the water.

"A vehicle, we hear a Ford Escape, comes right down the ferry dock and for whatever reason didn't stop, didn't slow ... or anything ... and went right off the edge and down into the water," Washington State Patrol Sgt. Pete Stock said.

"The vehicle just went around and came straight on through," he added. "From the witnesses we spoke with, there was no suggestion or no indication that he even tried to slow down or tried to stop. He just drove right off the edge of the dock."

Witnesses told police that the driver was going a "moderate speed."

Stock said the man was born in the 1950s, and it was unknown why he drove into the water -- whether it was a suicide or a medical issue.

"At this point, we're just not sure."

While the Southworth terminal was closed, the Vashon-Fauntleroy route was not affected and remained open, Washington State Ferries said.

 

 

 

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